The Ball Game simulation does a great job of teaching some basic agile principles. In all honesty, if you stopped reading right now, you’d be good. The lessons taught by the native form of the Ball Game are powerful, and quite robust. There are certainly more things the team can learn, but the items enumerated in the previous section are the high points.
Variations on the Theme
When running a simulation, it is incumbent on the facilitator to do whatever they can to ensure that the participants have a good time, and learn from the experience. I had the good fortune to be present while a mentor of mine sought to enhance the experience for the team running through the simulation. The first two variations below were initiated by a mentor of mine named Jack Walser who managed to amp up the fun, and light a spark of possibility in my head.
Once that door was opened, I started seeing opportunities to further tweak the game and expand the lesson footprint. And that’s where this section will guide you.
There are a lot of variations that you can insert into this game. The following variants came as direct or indirect inspirations through the context of specific training sessions. I’ve tried to include the context that inspired each variation. The learning potential here is off the charts.
- Having a Ball – Variant 1 : Outside Obstacles
- Having a Ball – Variant 2 : Management Interruptions
- Having a Ball – Variant 3 : The Importance of Training
- Having a Ball – Variant 4 : Team Size is Important
- Having a Ball – Variant 5 : Multi-Tasking
- Having a Ball – Variant 6 : Parallel Tasking
- Having a Ball – Variant 7 : Surprises on Scope
- Having a Ball – Variant 8 : The Importance of Durable Teams
- Having a Ball – Variant 9 : Shared Resources
- Having a Ball – Variant 10 : Offshore Resources
- Having a Ball – Variant 11 : Paying Attention to Value
So what do you think? Could these variations help you and your teams in your Agile journey? Can you think of other scenarios and variations? I’d love to hear from you.